Singapore households will now have one more year to switch to Digital TV (DTV). The cessation of analogue TV broadcast has been shifted from end-2017 to December 31st 2018 to allow more time for households to switch over to DTV.
In addition, the Infocommunications Media Development Authority (IMDA) – which develops and regulates the converging infocomm and media sectors – is studying enhancements to the DTV Assistance Scheme (DTVAS) with a view to assisting more HDB Singaporean households with the switchover.
The announcements were made by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, in a written parliamentary response.
Commercial broadcaster Mediacorp will continue to broadcast in both analogue and digital formats until December 31st 2018. From January 1st 2019, broadcast free-to-air TV programmes will only be shown in digital format.
According to the IMDA, some three in four Singapore households are already receiving DTV either over the air, or through their pay-TV subscription. To facilitate the switch over to DTV and ensure that more Singaporeans receive adequate assistance to switch over to DTV, IMDA is studying enhancements to the DTVAS and will announce the enhancements early next year. The DTVAS provides households with a free digital set-top box, indoor antenna and installation. Households who qualify under the current DTVAS criteria can continue to apply to receive assistance.
To help viewers determine whether they will be affected by the analogue TV switch-off, all analogue TV channels will now automatically include an ‘Analogue’ channel logo on the top right hand corner of the TV screen. Households who see this channel logo will need to switch over to DTV to continue watching Mediacorp TV channels from January 1st 2019.
IMDA and Mediacorp have also launched a dedicated DTV microsite with a simple two-step guide (‘Check and Connect’) on how to receive DTV signals. Members of the public may also call Mediacorp for general and technical enquiries.
Singapore’s switch to DTV involves the adoption of the DVB-T2 broadcasting standard, in tandem with the global trend to enhance TV viewing experience.
Singapore’s switch to DTV also frees up scarce radio frequency spectrum, which will be used to provide better quality and higher mobile broadband speeds, ultimately improving end-user experience.